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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:33 pm 
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At Gudzani itself we spent a nice break with the noisy hippos and simply enjoyed the atmosphere whilst sipping our coffees.

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Today we wanted to enter virgin soil as we decided to drive the S41 from Gudzani for the very first time completely. The light during that morning was meanwhile at its best and not far we came across thousands (!!!) of impalas together with also uncountable wildebeests and zebras and it was simply amazing to feel their joy for life whilst jumping from right to left and from left to right, to hear the noises of the wildebeests, to smell the bush together with the animals and finally also to feel the dust each animal caused whilst running around on our skin.

As you can imagine it took quite a while to drive through all the animal masses and with a lot of photographic breaks it took even longer. One impala herd decided that it was great fun to cross the road in front of us in a single row in their obligatory impala trot and as we do not want to spoil that moment we simply had to wait until the last one of them disappeared on the other side.

The wildebeests on the other side still did not decide what to do on that beautiful morning and most of them where still lying on the ground unsteadily waiting for the things that might come to happen.

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At least we could admire lots of little ones between the legs of the adults.

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Until we then carried forward until Gudzani East we came across more waterbucks, giraffes and a very well camouflaged crocodile sunbathing on a rock.

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Then it got quieter or maybe it was because the grass in that area got higher and higher and only allowed a glimpse of a male steenbok and a kori bustard.

Meanwhile it turned out to be one of those hot and sunny late summer days and the temperatures had risen extremely so that the air has started to glimmer in the midday heat in the beginning of the S90 we could identify lot of different vultures and marabou storks on the ground

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obviously on a kill but unfortunately the whole procedure took place a bit farer away and the grass was far too high so that it was not possible for us to identify what it was actually.

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Also a lot vultures and marabous were sitting on a “typical” vulture tree eying the whole fuss suspiciously from high above in order to maybe get hold of some remains.

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Although so macabre the tug of war for some leftover was so it was fascinating to watch and

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by far there were still of lot of them about to land and the ones who had already enough took off.

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After an hour we thought it was time to leave and could not resist in taking a picture of this lone wildebeest under a small acacia tree a bit further down the road.

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Funny was that whenever driving that road during the following days we noticed such a lone wildebeest under an acacia tree – whether it was always the same wildebeest I did not know - but I was sure that it was always a different acacia tree. Also this picture is always reminding me of the area around Satara as this is how I would describe the area there.

The area around the camp Satara itself is normally teeming with game and so it was this late morning, as there were uncountable zebras crisscrossing the road and it was simply fun to stop, watch and take pictures as due to the number there was always something to be seen.

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Also lots of little ones could be spotted between the legs of the adults and so we could capture lots of moms with their babies.

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Back in camp – a bit earlier than normal – we deserved a nice and long break on our verandah with a walk around the camp and a visit to the shop before we prepared ourselves for a short afternoon drive to Girivana waterhole.

Unfortunately it was one of those quiet afternoons that we really had a hard time in even finding something. We waited quite a while at Girivana but as nothing happened and it was time to drive back to camp in order not to be too late for our braai with Hilda & Barry.

At least thousands of spiders could be seen around the waterhole itself and their webs had quite an immense dimension so that even a giant was caught in the trap.

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At Nsemani the Egyptian geese as well as lots of waterbucks were enjoining the last rays of sunshine and also lots of elephants under their private marula tree could be spotted whilst we drove slowly back to camp.

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Also these sightings of elephant bulls declaring a marula tree and as well the fallen fruits as private territory is pure Satara to me.

Back in camp we only had little time left for our braai with Hilda & Barry and after a short shower we went to our neighbours and indeed spent a more than nice evening with two very lovely people. The food was delicious and the company anyway and we stayed far longer than expected and noticed that lot of animals could be heard close to the fence. Once again thanks for everything, Hilda & Barry – it was amazing and unforgettable!

to be continued with the Mananga adventure trail.......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:54 pm 
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Tuesday, 21st February, 2012 – Satara

Today we already decided earlier that we will do the Mananga trail again provided same is open after the flood. As it is only allowed to check in for this trail at 07.00 o’clock at the reception we first drove to Girivana waterhole but before we reached there everything of this idyllic morning atmosphere had to be soaked in.

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Lots of barn swallows could be found nearly everywhere

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and although not much to be seen during this short morning drive we enjoyed the quietness again and even realized a movement at Girivana

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Whilst driving back to the tar road to finally pay a visit to Nsemani dam we noticed on the S12 extreme huge and even as tall as a man high spider webs whilst the sun rays illuminated everything brilliantly.

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Unfortunately at Nsemani itself and during the whole drive back to camp nothing to be seen. We arrived in time to book in and gladly the trail was open and beside one small ditch with lot of mud left same was far less muddy than previously expected.

You are allowed to spent the whole day on the trail and even if you completed same already you are still allowed to do same again or at least parts of it as normally you will not made in back in time for the gate closing time when you decide to do the trail twice.

The start is on the right hand side of the H1-4 between the S100 and S90 and normally the road where you had to drive is easily to be found but this year the grass was as high as never before

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and meanwhile nearly the whole trail had been grown by grass. On the first leg of the trail there was not much to be seen but we nevertheless enjoyed it again tremendously to be alone in the deep African savannah and so we relished the landscape

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and whilst switching the engine off simply enjoyed the silence which was breathtaking.

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Suddenly I saw a quick movement and could only capture this one and only picture of a cute dwarf mongoose which was peeping from behind a log into our direction.

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At Malihane water point we were surprised to see lots of zebras, wildebeests and even some male waterbucks and it was again fun to watch all of them buzzing around

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We spent a lot of time with them whilst parking at a shady spot and they even did not feel disturbed in any way and carried on doing their thing.

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It was so much fun to simply sat there and watch them as they entertained us in a way that zebras only can do and it was as if more and more of them arrived from nowhere.

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However, we had to carry on and maybe on our way back – the trail is coming back to that point at a later stage – we will have the possibility to say hello again to them. Now the track was leading into the direction of the S100 and although the grass was far shorter than on the first leg

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there was nothing to be seen besides some birdies as carmine bee eaters, a couple of busy lapwing starlings and lots of crown plovers but all of them where always in the move so it was not easy to take a picture.

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The S100 which is also a part of the Mananga trail was deserted – carwise and animalwise – and a couple of meters behind Gudzani dam on the S90 the trail is leading back off road but unfortunately also this part of the trail was quiet today besides some enormous hindrances which had to be driven around

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and only after we successfully overcame this barrier we already smelled them and were already on guard as suddenly they came from everywhere – elephants of all sizes in herds and lone bulls and there were still more coming,

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It was a hairy situation and we somehow managed to hide a bit with the car behind a small bush so that they might not realize that they will be watched or at least did not feel disturbed that much by our presence and although we felt a bit weird by that amount of grey masses we enjoyed being nearly part of them. We also realized a matriarch with some remarkable tusks which we already saw two years ago on the S100 and even could have a small glimpse onto Shibotwana

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who we also had the honour in meeting now the third time in a row – It was definitely not easy in photographing whilst nearly hiding behind a bush and always be on the watch out of some other elephants and the only thing we could do was pressing the button permanently.

to be continued.....


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:59 pm 
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The way they appeared suddenly they finally disappeared again and we dared to peep from behind a bush and could have a look into the small mud hole and water puddle which attracted all of them only recently but a huge late comer arrived loud trumpeting and soon quenched his thirst with lots of splashes.

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Finally we were alone again heading forward and after that we searched for a small break under a shady tree and as it is allowed to leave the vehicle we stretched our legs a bit extreme close to the vehicle and there we realized that we had a small puncture in one of our back tires and that we will try to get by with regulating the tire pressure each day. Animalwise this part of the trail was the best and we saw a group of giraffes

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followed by a lone zebra with a badly swollen leg which was limping in the midday heat – poor creature! The already missed impalas were found too as well as wildebeests

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and more famous Satara waterbucks

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and even more impalas already hiding squeezed close together under a shady bush, as it was today again one of those hot late summer days.

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Finally we stood again at the Malihane waterpoint which came across earlier during that trail and noticed that our zebra, wildebeest and waterbuck friends were still hanging around here as only a couple of hours earlier. We stayed again quite a while with them and enjoyed their presence. Now it was already the last stretch of the trail and we were already a bit sad that soon it was over again although we drove as slowly as possible. This part of the trail is again leaving through plain African savannah and end nearly in the middle of the S90. Timon saw something colourful and captured this lone red-billed quelea.

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These birds are extreme difficult to capture as they only appear in flocks but this time we had luck and we could photograph one relatively close.

Further on we found a dead tree and there an adult carmine bee eater with a younger one entertained us once again on catching bees – Obviously one of the parents introduced the younger one how to hunt for them. Besides us they had another spectator in form of a thrush which was eying them from a branch.

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Gladly for Timon the bee eater returned always to the same place where it just sat to swallow the just caught bees and so he simply had to position the camera, wait for the bee eater and press the button.

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We stayed with them nearly endlessly and it was great fun watching them. From time to time the younger one also was successful in hunting and proudly presented its catch to us.

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It is quite amazing how many bees they caught in a relatively little time whoever might count this I would estimate that it might be thousands!

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Amazing little birdies they are.

Meanwhile it was already 3 o’clock in the afternoon and we found a short break on our verandah was now well deserved but before one of those lone wildebeests under an acacia bush simply had to be captured again. Back in camp we could not pass without taking a picture of this like mad sunbathing glossy starling at our bungalow.

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After the glossy left soon a yellow-billed hornbill appeared at exactly the same place and did the same which was funny to watch.

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Not much time left until we went over to Hilda & Barry to finally say good-bye and to exchange the sightings of the day and after taking a couple of pictures of the four of us

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it was nearly too late for an afternoon drive but time enough for a short visit to Nsemani dam and whilst driving the H7 we were already told by another car that only a couple of meters further they are two lions to be admired.

And so it was and although already a lot of cars surrounded them we still find a place where to park, position the camera and press the button

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as we definitely had only a couple of minutes until they left into the high grass farer away from the road.

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Unfortunately from him I only saw the tip of the tail but as we had one further night at Satara you might believe me that this was not the last time we met this honeymoon couple......

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Although the whole sighting lasted only for 10 minutes after our arrival we enjoyed it very much to find again huge golden kitties

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and after taking a couple of pictures I was already about to call Hilda & Barry but until I had my mobile ready the sighting was already over.

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After a short visit at Nsemani we turned around and only found a couple of dagga boys in the already very bad light.

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Another thrilling day was over and whilst realizing that we from now on only had four full days left we already got a bit sentimental but with a delicious braai, with the bush sounds and with an invasion of praying mantises and other bugs on our verandah we finally thought it was time for the bed.

to be continued with a large number of feathered friends......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Wednesday, 22. February, 2012 – Satara

Today we decided to drive for our morning drive the S100 for the very last time this year and same proved once again that you either can have everything there or nothing. Unfortunately today was the latter and same was more than quiet with only a couple of the obligatory impalas,

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wildebeests, lone elephant bulls and a beautiful Paradise Whydah which during that part of the year is indeed a frequent visitor of that road according to our experiences.

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For us today turned into a birding day with lots of amazing sightings of our feathered friends and only few sightings of mammals. Unfortunately the second African harrier hawk sighting during this trip was not that good as the first one as the raptor nearly kept hidden behind a tree the whole time this sighting lasted.

Soon we were already on the road to the Sweni bird hide where we wanted to stay a little while today, as there are normally only few other visitors to be found and so was it today – We were the only ones there and could enjoy the silence together with the beastly visitors of this hide.

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We spotted a lovely green backed heron and a bit farer away a juvenile Goliath heron and then Timon told me to look a bit left high in the trees where he spotted a frog on a branch....

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Also here it was today extreme quiet animalwise and whilst driving the same road back we came across plenty of go away birds, and a lovely yellow-billed kite

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throwing a look at us which could kill.

Shortly before the low water bridge crossing the N’wanetsi there is a small look out and from there we realized a family of ground hornbills searching for food on the ground and another pied kingfisher catching for fishes.

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due to the lack of cars we could stop for an excessive stop on one of our favourite spots on the S41, namely the low water bridge as normally from there, there is always something to be seen and so was it today.

Plenty of masked weavers were busy in building or refurbish their existing nests

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and it was a great pleasure for us to watch how agile these little birds with their tiny feet and bills are able to tie knots in only one blade of grass easily

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and how flexible their legs can be whilst trying the fix the nest head over heels. Some of their nests where still green, others turned into grey already and again others started only today with the very first blade of grass.

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We only had to turn our head to watch a couple of water dikkops

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and the lazy crocodiles who could found here plentiful.

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Obviously our earlier spotted family of ground hornbills was successful in hunting something as three of them landed on a close by tree and proudly presented a small puff adder, btw the first one ever I saw in Kruger!,

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and soon the juvenile of them landed also close by and got the prize and flew away extreme loudly with the catch of the day!

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to be continued with more feathered friends.....


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Time of us to say good bye and on our way back we were rewarded with a beautiful grey heron extreme close,

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a Wahlberg’s eagle

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and the colourful carmine beeters which are always plentiful in that area.

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Finally also larger animals could be spotted in form of a family of giraffes and some of the multicolour dragon flies simply had to be capture

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and finally we got the shot of three in one sweep!

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As it was still extreme early we decided to drive via the H1-4, the S137 and back via the Timbavati road to camp and between here and there we had another lovely rhino sighting, however, same was a bit shy and kept nearly hidden the whole time.

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Finally it was time to stretch the legs again and we spent a lovely time on the Timbavati picnic spot which is one of our favourites in Kruger and soon another visitor kindly pointed to us the tiny scops owl which was sleeping in one of the huge trees on the picnic spot.

Same was sleeping close to a crotch and itself looked exactly like a piece of bark but as we were now aware to look for we thanked the man effusively, searched for a nice place where to position Timon’s lens and fired away.

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After some posing our little scopsie friend went soon back into sleeping modus.

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After quite a while we waved our little feathered friend good-bye and carried on. Meanwhile it was again extreme hot and after stopping at the famous hamerkop nest where you have to cross a feeder river of the Timbavati we enjoyed the coolness under the shady trees.

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As you can see everything dried meanwhile up after the floods but the S39 is also one of those roads which suffered a lot under the recent floods as partly huge pieces of the sand where missing and some of the famous small loops have to be omitted as otherwise you would have ended in the riverbed itself.

As nearly the whole morning already it was once again extreme quiet but on our feathered friends we could rely as they occurred again plentiful such as this amazingly posing white crowned shrike.

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At Nsemani dam the obligatory marabou conference was still not over

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and back in camp close to the trees in front of the shop, reception and restaurant complex Timon could no longer be stopped as he spotted a crested barbet and a woodland kingfisher and same were in the mood to win the competition in best posing bird of the year 2012!

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So whilst I walked into the shop to buy some just arrived veggies and fruits he was changing between the crested barbet and woodie, as both simply posed too cheeky.

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Returning to our bungalow was not the same as in the last three days as it was strange to see that the one Hilda & Barry occupied was now already filled by another couple but is was once again good to enjoy the view over the Satara savannah close to the fence from our bungalow and as always lots of wildebeests, impalas, zebras, giraffe, elephants and buffaloes were on the run to the waterhole close to the restaurant complex.

As we again realized pins at the same location where we yesterday spotted our honeymoon couple we decided to drive into the direction of Nsemani and although we missed them earlier that day same came out of their hiding place to give us a final good-bye.

At nearly the same spot as yesterday we already realized a traffic jam and we squeezed into one spot which just had been vacated by another car and waited for some lion activity as so often whilst staying at Satara and believe me these Satara lions do know when gate closing time is as they got more and more active the closer the time comes for the cars to leave.

Our couple was very well hidden in the high grass

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but from time to time one of them lifted its head, stood up only

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to flop down again only a couple of centimetres away from the spot which they just left.

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Today they had chosen a spot a bit farer away from the road where unfortunately the grass was extreme high so we had no alternative than just to have the camera ready when some of them might come up with the head for a short look around.

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Today was the contrary as today only he was visible whilst she kept nearly the whole time hidden but good for us because finally we were able to meet both of them. He finally was in the mood for some action and showed teeth to her and we caught them after the act

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then both of them started to get tired again.

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We stayed with them as long as possible but now it was also time for us to leave in order not to come back to camp too late and most of the cars left as well and a after a final scary look we waved bye-bye to them.

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Unfortunately this evening it got very cloudy, windy and was by far no longer that hot as during the day and it was already extreme dark but we simply had to stop for these very muddy chaps.

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We once again enjoyed our final Satara braai and stayed outside as long as possible but today it was a bit scary as after the praying mantis, moth and bug invasions the previous evenings today the red roman Spider invasion took place and after counting five of them on our verandah I thought it was time for the bed.

to be continued with more pictures of our honeymoon couple........


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Thursday, 23. February 2012 – Satara – Olifants

Our final morning at Satara dawned and a bit sad we started to pack everything together but found time to sit a while down for a short coffee and relished the final view from our verandah – Sigh and although we stayed already 4 nights (the longest stay for us there up to now) it was still not far enough but as we were moving to Olifants – also one of our favourites – we were not that sad any longer. Whenever travelling from Satara North to the next camp we drive via the S39 and so was our decision already made but soon we got once again stuck in a traffic jam on the H7, as obviously our honeymoon couple was still in the mood for some tender moment.

But before we could even throw a glance onto why all the cars stopped and at what they were looking we had to wait and I must confess that this was up to now the hugest traffic jam we ever get stuck so far in Kruger. After a short while some impatient people had already enough and we somehow managed to squeeze all over and suddenly were facing the beautiful lioness again.

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When reading her face you could see that she was still far too tired to understand the swarm around her.

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Finally we could manage to get a picture of both of them as they were still lying flat on the road

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but also knew how to satisfy the secret wishes of the many paparazzi around them.

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For our liking far too soon the show was over and they retired further away from the road into the high grass

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and this was for us the signal to start our engine and carry on but believe me we did not came far as directly at Nsemani dam we spotted a lovely lion family which the many cars which stopped far too close to them chased away from the road so we were unfortunately only able in taking pictures of them whilst they trotted off.

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Mom was forming the advance guard, followed by four gorgeous and very playful cubs and finally Big Daddy with a sore eye was backing them up.

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How we would have loved to watch them closer but due to the honeymoon couple there was no chance to reach them earlier so we had to be satisfied with what we got

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and to watch them walking away is for sure better to did not see them at all.

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The sun was now coming up very fast and the light was once again starting to become tremendous and so we chose to pay a short side trip to Girivana waterhole. At first sight same was peaceful and quite as always but then I saw a more then cute face

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and the little one must have came from drinking as around its snout the fur was wet which made the gorgeous face even more cuter.

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Same looked directly into our car and those big brown eyes let us melt away immediately – Unfortunately the whole face was covered with some sort of “arrow-grass” at least I think it is named so which you will find in the area around Satara nearly everywhere and also some parts of the Mananga trail was heavily laced with this sort of plant and also our tires said thanks to it. Maybe some of you know the exact name?

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The little thing was not at all shy and if we would have opened the car door I was more to sure that same would have jumped in. Those eyes are always quite impressive. Same walked around the car and in a determined way away from us obviously knowing very well where the rest of the clan is to be found.

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On our way back to the H7 lot of giraffes appeared suddenly and had together breakfast and this fluffy friend did pose simply too nicely to escape Timon’s lens

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and also this kudu bull with a spider web between his horns must have been captured especially in this golden light – Sigh.

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The rest of the drive also on the S39 itself was extreme quiet and so we satisfied ourselves with views into the river bed which are always impressive there, watched a lot of Carmine bee eaters stopped for impalas

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which occurred as always plentiful and finally could again photograph a forktailed drongo.

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Finally we echoed ourselves again on the Timbavati picnic spot on which we only stopped for a short loo break and a short view onto our beloved scops owl and carried on the S39 into Northerly direction but we finally did not come that far as shortly before Ratelpan hide there was a nice plain spot in front of a huge ocean of reed grass and the reed itself was covered partly by fluffy red spots.

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All in all we soon counted up to five red bishops and we once again were over the moon as this bird did not cross our paths that often up to now and especially in his display plumage is so colourful.

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Although it was difficult to capture the outlines in his face due to the black colour but Timon found a more than willing victim and snapped like mad whilst I looked via binoculars for more of them.

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Funny was to watch his behaviour when a female came closer and then he started his display show with puffed up plumage and exciting chirping.

In this picture he lived up to his name because of the scarlet mitre!

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to be continued with a lovely drive further down the S39........


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:41 am 
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In the first step the female was indeed not that much impressed and flew off and soon his feathered collapsed and soon he did not look that impressive any longer. Here is a picture of the female which returned from time to time and obviously was interested

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and soon the procedure started again. We had a great time in watching this courtship behaviour from the front row.

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Meanwhile there were more of the males in breeding plumage visible and in more than photographic reach and we even could chose between a couple of them

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as they suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

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As we already stayed a long long time with them and as we still had a lot to drive with heavy hearts we said good bye to our lovely feathered friends only to stop a couple of meters further and to pay Ratel pan a visit and maybe there they might be more feathered friends to be admired but first the more larger animals got our attention as a lot of them where hanging around close to the hide.

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After a second and a third look we indeed spotted a very well camouflaged African jacana and far too far away masked weavers and some smaller crocodiles but the hippo show with that impressive yawn was simply too good to be missed

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funny was that in the background of the hippo one could see on several pictures a wave which was caused by a pied kingfisher busy in catching fish whilst swooping and finally Timon was able to capture same shortly before it spotted the catch of the day.

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We were the whole time we stayed there all by ourselves and enjoyed once again the atmosphere tremendously and after nearly an hour we carried on but did not get far as the view down into the riverbed was awesome on that morning – Do not miss our ellie friend who popped out of the thick bushes for a drink!

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Further on we came across lots of impalas, wildebeests and zebras which are occurring on that part of the road always plentiful and finally in one of the smaller loops we had the honour in capturing a lovely Jacobin cuckoo hiding in a bush close to where we stood with the car.

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Then we could not but simply had to stop for this classical giraffe drinking shot – As always it took quite a while until the giraffe was ready to go into drinking position but we simply love it when they are presenting themselves from their vulnerable side.

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Although we knew before that the low water bridge close to Balule was still damaged we simply wanted to have a look by ourselves and on our way to the bridge we spotted in a remaining pond this little friend

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and lots of wildebeests

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as well as impalas which were already hiding under a bush as it started again to get hotter and hotter that day.

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Finally we stood at the damaged bridge and had to take a picture of it as memory of passed trips where we spent a lot of time on that bridge and enjoyed the view from there. Hopefully next February we will have the honour in spending our time there again.

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On our way back we did not came far as a large herd of elephants appeared from the thick bushes and crossed the road right in front of us –

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glad for us that the matriarch was too single-minded in stopping so soon the whole herd disappeared again on the other side and we carried on immediately not that there might be any latecomers.....

First we were a bit disappointed to spend only one night at Olifants as in the past we always had some nice sightings there but due to the insuperable Balule bridge and the road closure on the H1-5 and with the detour on the S91/92 which was used as testing track for Formula one cars at least by a couple of cars this year we were glad that our decision we took was the right one.

As already said on the S91/92 was such a rush of cars that it was still a wonder that lots of impalas and even this normally shy steenbokie were not chased away or even worse got hit by a speeding car.

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At least we were safe in watching down into the river in the several loops on that road and from there we saw this small herd of elephants peacefully quenching their thirst or taking a bath. In the background due to the remaining debris it was clear how high the water of the Olifants had risen during the floods.

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Although the drive from Satara to Olifants is not that long same is taking us always until early afternoon as there is always so much to be seen. Whilst checking in I was surprised to get again the keys for No. 9 in which we already stayed during our previous stays in Olifants for the forth time and after doing the ugly schlepping over the uneven pathway and over a lot of steep stairs we simply said on our verandah and admired the view with a well earned afternoon coffee and Timon could not resist in taking this picture from the walkway halfway between bungalow to the parking lot down to the impressive Olifants river – The fish eagle on that picture was pure luck as we noticed same only afterwards.

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to be continued with "It is a long way until Tihongonyeni".........


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:07 pm 
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During the day it got more and more cloudier and windier and it cooled down extremely as if a thunderstorm might come up so we decided to visit this evening the restaurant instead of risking any fire which might become independent from the braai stand as meanwhile also the wind turned into a heavy storm and also due to this we only did a short afternoon drive which led us to the S93, as the S44 was unfortunately still closed, as this would be normally the road which we had chosen. The drive was extreme quiet, however, we were able to spot this little chap and made it clear same crossed the street without getting harmed.

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On one of those small bridges crossing remaining feeders we spotted relatively close to the road this hamerkop busy in searching something for dinner. Although the water in that pond stank extremely it did not bother our feathered friend as same eagerly continued searching for something yummy.

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Sure was also that we made it clear to get a picture of this famous baobab tree and that was also the signal for us to turn around

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and paid a short visit to N’wanandzi lookout point as otherwise we would have missed same this year. As already said the wind was howling now incredibly and I even had trouble to close the car door but the view at that spot always compensates for nearly everything especially when spotting these chaps obviously on a buffalo get together somewhere in the dunes. Maybe not the best picture also due to the bad light but still one of my favourites of the entire trip.

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Back in camp Timon decided to do a short run whilst I had my magical half an hour on our verandah until it got too dark to spot anything and after a refreshing shower we went over to the restaurant and had a nice meal there. Due to the heavy storm outside we decided against a sit in on our verandah after our dinner and went to bed immediately after that thrilling day.

Friday, 24. February 2012 – Olifants - Mopani

Today we had to do our very last packing as we were heading to our final camp but before we did so we enjoyed the breathtaking view down to the river with the setting sun and a fresh hot coffee in hand. Unfortunately our favourite road, the S44, was still closed so we had no alternative to drive the S93 where we soon spotted a lone hippo in a pond between the famous red rocks in that area. We stopped our engine and simply enjoyed the presence of the hippo in silence as same although in the water was alarmingly close.

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As soon as Timon started the car the hippo obviously got the fright of its life and jumped catlike out of the water – with all 4 legs in the air – and suddenly stood behind our car motionless. I felt so sorry for same as this was not our intention and therefore we left it and hopefully same returned into its private spa immediately. At least its heart must have beaten as strong as ours during that incident.

Finally the road led to the S46 and we enjoyed the lovely views into the Letaba river via the many loops which were astonishingly in extreme good condition if not in the best condition I ever noticed that road. This is one of those roads which gives you all or nothing but we had the feeling that we had a Deja Vu as soon a lone hyaena came running into our direction

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and only allowed one single shot.

Suddenly a snake slithered out of the bushes, paused on the road, also allowed only one decent shot, and crawled away.

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Obviously the animals were all late in their appointment as none of them had enough time for a small chat.

Funny but true after the snake disappeared another hyaena clan appeared on the scene and what to say they had also no time for us.

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Maybe the lone one which we only saw a couple of seconds before was their vanguard and they left no time and hurried up to follow their buddy.

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It was simply like last year where we obviously met the same hyaena clan on that road and nearly the same time. I just said to Timon that now only the lone buffalo is missing but what to say we saw when we drove around the next corner – Mr. Buffalo himself!

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If we did not have met the snake which we did not see last year this would have frightened me.

We did not miss any single loop when we neared the Engelhard dam and there on some remains from the flood a beautiful fish eagle was enthroning

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Its mate was circling above and it was obvious that they were a couple.

The rest of our drive until we reached Letaba camp was quiet besides a very hungry elephant which was busy in munching his breakfast close to the road – Gladly for us he was only interested in his branches and green and not in us.

In Letaba we paid a short visit to the Elephant Hall which we always do when there, stocked up a bit our food and enjoyed a yummy ice cream whilst strolling a bit through the camp.

As we still had a long way ahead of us we could not stay that long but simply had time enough to admire all these beautiful trees in camp. The tar road accompanying the Letaba river with its many loops is still a breathtaking drive and so is as well the S95 – Although today the road itself was quiet in the water we could admire uncountable hippos, waterbucks and sunbathing crocodiles on their own private island.

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Shortly before the high water bridge an adult Carmine bee eater was once again demonstrating a juvenile one how to catch properly insects and we had another awesome time in watching them. Although the light was bad as dark clouds and blue sky were taking turns and we had to change permanently the iso number, especially the pictures Timon took from the young one came out not that bad.

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In this picture it’s thought were these: “Maybe the bees will come all by itself if I only wait long enough?”

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The high water bridge is always a lovely break from sitting in the car and so we took advance of it to climb off the car and stretch the legs a bit of course with the camera and binos always ready for operating.

For this “little” chap no binos were required as same was sleeping close to where we stand on a sandy island

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not far away another huge croc was doing exactly the same. A light breeze was blowing and it was simply magic to stand there and let our eyes wander around to admire the beauty and enjoy simply the moment. Sigh! A bit farer away a bachelor group of waterbucks enjoyed life at an extreme peaceful spot

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and on the other side a large group of ground hornbills was foraging in the river bed.

As we again wanted to drive the Tsendze loop and later on also the Tropic of Capricorn loop we could not stay that much longer but as we booked next year for 2 nights Olifants we already planned a longer day trip to Letaba as well as to Mingerhout dam – there must be always something you can look forward too. The H1-6 was extreme quiet besides this shy elephant who was hiding himself behind the smallest branch he could find the minute we stopped closed to him.

Although the elephant bulls in the North are known to be much more aggressive as their brothers in the South we experienced always the contrary the calmest of these huge giants are the ones from the North. The longer we stayed the more trust he got in us an even came a bit closer

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and although looking innocent we are always alert whenever standing that close to such a giant and believe me this was one of the huger ones and also one of the well behaved in the park. Funny was that a Carmine bee eater was catching the insects the elephant rousted and so partly there appeared some sort of red dots on the pictures.

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Normally we wanted to do a short break at Makhadzi picnic spot, however, same was still closed after the floods and so we strolled back on a lovely quiet road on which a lone wooly-necked stork was searching for something yummy in a giant mud hole.

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Its bill was already extreme dirty but the catch must have compensated same. Only a bit further we had to cross a small bridge and there in a remaining puddle another wooly necked stork couple was busy in preparing a nest.

On our way back to the tar road first we only saw a couple of unmistakably tails high in the air but then a whole family of warthogs popped out in the high and thick grass and started to feed on the grass close to the road.

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At first sight they were a bit shy against us but after recognizing us as Timon & Pumbaa they relied on us and even the little ones came closer and allowed us some lovely shots.

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The previous warthogs we saw during our many trips whenever they had piglets with them were extreme shy and alert but this little family was so relaxed and we enjoyed their presence so much.

to be continued with "Finally we arrived at Tihongonyeni"......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
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At Malopenyana an elephant was now busy in quenching his thirst at the waterhole. The Tsendze loop was quite although we always do love to drive that road very much and on the ever present impala we could rely.

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Between a large group we discovered one which was according to its size the smallest we have ever seen before and it looked like as this little very agile girlie was a latecomer but same was not because of her size but also because of her permanent jumps an eye catcher as she was so full of joie de vivre.

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Finally we turned into one of our favourite roads in that area, the S50, and right in the beginning unfortunately very well hidden behind bushes and lying on the ground we spotted our first group of tsessebes during that trip. We took soon a couple of pictures because at that stage we did not know that we will have only half an hour later the honour of watching lots of them extreme close at Tihongonyeni which came out far better than these with lots of bushes and grasses hiding them.

Between two Nshawu waterholes which were unfortunately all deserted we spotted this tusker far away and as meanwhile the heat made the air glimmer again the pictures were unfortunately not that good to maybe identifying him.

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The closer we now came to Tihongonyeni the more animals could be spotted and besides the smaller numbers of warthogs and impalas the other so called “general game” was plentiful as if they all had meet up there for a lunch break. Lots of zebras already could be easily spotted nearly everywhere but this lovely sighting of a mum tendering her foal made us stop once again.

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Needless to say that Timon took pictures of them from all points of view and made it therefore difficult for me to choose my favourites of them!

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Different groups of wildebeests as well as tsessebes were now to be found everywhere – Some of them were grazing, others resting and even others were in the mood for some running. It was difficult for us where and what to watch first as there were so many different animals together as we have never seen before and we gave all of them enough time to present themselves from the their sunny side of life.

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Ostriches and zebras mixed up with wildebeests and tsessebes as far as our eyes could see – It was indeed one of the highlights of this already so successful trip and although maybe not the rarer antelopes were showing themselves we had a lot of fun in watching these bunches of stripes and legs.

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Funny was to watch these male ostrich who obviously was competing at a staring contest as it indeed took quite a while until he continued feeding again.

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A bit farer away a group of vultures were feeding on remains of a kill and this yellow billed kite was also hanging around just in case some leftovers might still be available.

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On top of all thousands of white storks were also to be found between the legs of the antelopes and even more were circling above us in the sky – It was simply an amazing afternoon at “Big T!”

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After we meanwhile stopped our car and made ourselves comfortable in turning our heads from left to right and up and down to not miss anything of the animal action the appearance of the giants took place. Sporadically only a handful were already present but that was not comparable at what was coming up. At first only dark spots could be spotted in the distance but these movable rocks soon came closer and closer and materialized finally into huge male elephants.

But before they arrived we simply enjoyed the peaceful scenery and all the other animals as well as obviously each bush in that area was a favourite place of an antelope.

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Determined neither looking right not left they walked through all the resting animals and chased them up with a head shaker here and a grumble there. Indeed quite impressive and hopefully you at least have an impression what I mean with my description.

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Before the grey giants arrived the white storks were having a quiet get together at Tihongonyeni but as soon as they arrived to quench their thirst they even chased all white storks up which were now circling high in the sky and we tried to capture them whilst flying by close to where we parked.

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After the first commotion has been settled they one after the landed again where they only could be found only minutes before and shared finally peacefully the waterhole with the elephants.

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Great for us was that our giant friends were not at all interested in us so we simply kept standing where we stood before, cameras in hand and ready to simply click away.

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As it was already late lunch time and again extreme hot we were for a long time the only car at “Big T” and needless to say that we enjoyed the quietness and to be surrounded by so many animals tremendously.

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to be continued......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
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The elephants meanwhile started their bathing procedure after the first drinks had been taken

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and after finishing the bathing procedure the mud had been extensively distributed nearly everywhere on their bodies.

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Lots of other animals started to come again closer and we indeed still had a great time in watching all of them and sometimes it even was hard to decide where to watch first.

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As we always do have enough food on board we also had our lunch together with the tsessebes, ostriches, wildebeests, zebras, elephants and birds – Sigh I simply can acclimatize myself in munching my cookies whilst only meters away elephants took a bud baths and ostriches were feeding on the grass.

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How I do love these trunk on tusk poses! Finally we could also spot a lone dagga boy who must have been sleeping in one of the mud holes and also he had been chased up by the elephants although he still looked extreme sleepy. We felt a bit sorry for him as the only thing he wanted to have was his peace and quiet.

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Gladly he had not to wait that long as the grey giants after they all had done their thing disappeared as fast as they appeared on the scene and slowly also the other animals got back into their calmness or sleeping modus and returned again to the resting place or the private bushes they quickly had to left because of the invasion of the giants.

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Funny was that the final say had the elephants as before they disappeared completely all into different directions they simply had to stop for a final dust shower and then finally satisfied and happy they all trotted off.

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And after spending nearly 2 hours at Tihongonyeni we decided that it was also for us time to leave and that we will for sure pay another visit again tomorrow. We drove off but also the remaining gravel road until we reached the tar road was filled with animals and forced us to stop for one or two pictures. Finally I also could manage to take my first picture of Kruger ostrich chicks although they were meanwhile far too grown to still call them “chicks”.

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Pity was that they were a bit far away and very well camouflaged between all the grass and bushes. The remaining drive was gladly quiet – otherwise we would have never managed to arrive at Mopani but this shrike posed to brilliantly it simply had to be captured.

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Only a couple of meters before the gate another dagga boy found his private spa and was under no circumstances in the mood to raise only an eyebrow or even move a hair and stayed motionless the whole time we looked at him.

Funny was that this was obviously his favourite resting place for the afternoon as when we left the following days in the morning he was nowhere to be seen but when leaving camp again for our afternoon drives he always was back.

Meanwhile it was already 15.30 h and time for us to move into our bungalow. We were rewarded with bungalow No. 49 which is having a breathtaking view to Pioneer dam. In record time we had thrown all our stuff into the relevant corners and sat down on our verandah with another hot and strong coffee in hand and simply enjoyed the view.

Although we could have sat there the whole afternoon until it turned dark we decided at around 17.15 o’clock to do a short drive up to Mooiplaas waterhole as same is only a stone’s throw away. The light was simply perfect and we soon stopped for a couple of Egyptian geese

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The blade of grass in front of the Egyptian goose looked as if he peed into the water!

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All in all the waterhole was deserted but the light was so brilliant and the atmosphere too good to already leave and our decision paid off as suddenly we heard the unmistakably branch cracking of an approaching elephant and finally same popped out of the dense Mopani bushes and finally the title of my trip report came true

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“Sunsets with tuskers at the Horizon” – Okay maybe the tusker appeared only in singular and not at the horizon but there he was

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although still a bit hidden in the bush and overall a bit sleepy from a nice afternoon nap.

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It took quite a while until he finally presented himself in full glory without any disturbing leaves and allowed us to take pictures from all sides as he turned himself around in slow motion so that we can take excessive pictures.

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to be continued with a never seen bird and more feathered friends.....


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:54 pm 
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As we still had a bit time left before the gate closing time we paid a visit at Shipandani hide and there especially the low water bridge only a couple of meters in front of the hide attracted us as from there lots of feathered friends, crocodiles as well as the obligatory hippos could be admired.

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The crocodiles were only lying around but the hippos were busy in doing their thing

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and our attention got soon a never seen bird – No. 9 for that trip – a juvenile black crowned night heron. Although same was sitting motionless most of the pictures Timon took came out blurred but nevertheless we enjoyed that sighting extremely.

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Back in camp Timon fired the braai and we both sat silently on our verandah and enjoyed not only the view but also an amazing sunset - What another magnificent day in Paradise crowned by that sunset – Sigh!

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Saturday, 25. February, 2012 – Mopani

Finally our last full day dawned and after a quick wake up coffee we were already heading forward into the direction of Mooiplaas waterhole where we soon stopped for a kori bustard which was stalking majestically around.

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Pity was that it was today in the morning still a bit dark as dark grey clouds where hiding the sun but gladly the later it got that morning the clouds disappeared.

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Also lots of Egyptian geese as well as a large number of ground hornbills could also be spotted and although we maybe hoped for the famous lions or cheetahs at that waterhole we finally got two of the Big 6 birds nearly in one picture.

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It was a lovely peaceful atmosphere with all the birds around and finally a crowned plover paid a visit as well.

Further down the S143 a cute black back jackal couple crossed our path and although one of them was extreme shy and always was hiding in the high grass the other one was curious

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and got attracted by something which caught its attention on the road but we could not discover anything.

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Everyone who knows that road do also know the Mopani bushes which are covering that area and now you simply had to imagine that all these bushes where full of lovely amur falcons -

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all in all they appeared that morning in an uncountable number and for sure Timon was already busy in simply snapping away

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How cute they looked with their fluffy plumage and I think it was the first time ever that they presented themselves so close, as all our previous sightings only occurred only a bit far away.

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A banana bird could also be found on a bush which was not occupied by any amur falcon and If I would not have dropped Timon finally away from one of his famous birds I guess we would still be sitting there in our car.

But as soon as we have left the falcons another not often seen bird fluttered by – a pair of Namaqua dove – a pity was that this was the only picture we could take.

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Around the next corner the unmistakably noise of a popping champagne cork reached our ears and it took a while until we noticed the culprit in the high grass.

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Strange was that this year we saw so many of them in so many different areas of the park that it was always a great surprise when we met a new one.

Funny was also the way this one was demonstrating its flexible neck as firstly same was contracting its head only to ascending same only seconds later.

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After the many feathered friends we already came across that early morning the closer we came once again to Tihongonyeni the more general game came across maybe not that many as we saw the afternoon the day before but once again lot of zebras, white storks, wildebeests

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as well as ostriches could be nearly found everywhere.

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The only exception that morning was a cute blackbacked jackal which was running around close to the waterhole and due to the predominate mud its feet and legs looks as if same was wearing black socks.

Gladly the grey rain clouds got less and less and the sun finally won the battle against them and wrapped the atmosphere in a nice morning light

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and also that lush and green looking grass together with the stripped ones offered simply awesome moments.

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As we already planned a final visit here for our very last afternoon in the park we decided to leave and as it was still extreme early we also made our minds in travelling also the Shongololo loop as this is also one of the few roads in the park we never visited before. But before we even reached there we had to be careful not to overrun the many, many white storks which always landed in front of our car - I simply held my camera out of the window and snapped happily away only to realize later back at home that I also caught a fleeing ostrich!

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to be continued with our very last afternoon in the park..... :cry: :cry: :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
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Next came across a large group of giraffes with a gorgeous youngster among them which for sure had to be captured immediately.

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We then had another premiere as we never had travelled along the S142 - the Shongololo loop - before. Pity was that in the beginning the road was extreme quite and all we could see were mopane bushes next to more and even more mopane bushes but as always the birdies were again with us. First a couple of sandgrouse came along but they were even far too quick for a picture but then we saw another stunning red-crested korhaan which even presented himself from his chocolate side and gladly left the dense grass and bushes for some decent pictures.

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Then followed a long long time again thousands of that famous mopani bushes but that is no complaint as we really do love them and the quietness because of the non existing cars was great too already knowing that when we will leave the park the next day we will get again hit by the rush early enough. Then Timon stopped for a not that often seen raptor at least for us - a black-breasted snake eagle

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which landed on one of those many piles in that area - Although we do not like that much such wildlife pictures with such handmade utensils on it but the advantage was that it allowed us to snap away as the raptor was sitting still, looking out for some prey and finally offered a great opportunity in capturing this take off picture

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only to land on the next pile in the row. The rest of the drive until we reached Frazerus was again quiet but on the way to this pan we spotted in the distance raised dust and after a short visit at the pan where we met the one and only car on that loop the dust meanwhile came closer and revealed a huge herd of buffaloes.

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Needless to say that we made ourselves comfortable as far as that is possible in our car and enjoyed these grey masses from a safety distance.

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As always when occurring in such large group the buffaloes are always getting curious and allowed some nice captures of their cute faces and even here in the North lots of yellow-billed oxpeckers on their backs where travelling with them.

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Nearly at the end of that loop with its many feeder spruits flowing into the Tsendze river a bit more animal activity could be spotted at least our feathered friends where there to entertain us. First a grey hornbill which just caught a praying mantis came across but same was so busy in swallowing its prey

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that it kept nearly hidden the hole time until breakfast was done until same positioned photogenic on a close by branch.

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In one of the remaining puddles a three banded plover was busy in searching for something nice and yummy for breakfast

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and after I caught a movement in the water I captured the culprit on picture at least its face!

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On our way to pay Pioneer hide a visit this Cape Turtle dove in a bare-branched bush was good visible

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and finally we stopped for a longer break at the hide and savoured the view over the dam and lots of Carmine bee eaters, crocodiles and a Goliath heron shared it with us. A short visit at Shipandani offered a view onto the ever present hippos and on a blacksmith plover.

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Due to the lack of animals it was still for our liking far too early to return back already to camp so we decided to drive for the very last time during this holiday the Tropic of Capricorn loop and there we also spotted the first elephant of the day and also here many macpie shrikes stopped at least for a short while for a quick click.

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Once again we stopped for an excessive stop at Tihongonyeni and compared to the early morning now far more animals were around. Especially the close ups of the tsessebes

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and the elephant invasion which once again took place where the highlights while we stood there. After he had done all the necessary things he simply took a nap where he stood using his trunks as backup.

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Although the rarer antelopes skipped that waterhole during our stay here we enjoyed the bunch of stripes tremendously and the following picture is also one of my favourite which we took during that holiday as it simply showed the way it was there, that peaceful day at Tihongonyeni.

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We could have sat their endlessly but the clock was ticking down and we had not alternative than to wave a final good-bye - at least for that holiday - and carried on back to camp.

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A pity was that the remaining drive was indeed as quiet as already the whole morning but such quiet days do happen as well so it was time to satisfy my tree captures and this famous baobab between a lot of other green had to be photographed.

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Back in camp we allowed ourselves an ample sit in on our verandah with binoculars and coffee, the view was still more than magnificent and accompanied with the grunts from the many hippos simply awesome. With an ice cream we strolled through the camp on that lazy afternoon and paid the baobab in camp a visit. A pity was that the barn owls were not there as a sign was warning to not throw stones into the hole in the tree as there barn owls are nesting. A shame was that this sign even was necessary!

to be continued.with a naughty hyaena clan.......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
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Extreme late already we started our short and very last afternoon drive for that holiday and decided to give the many loops on the H1-6 between Mooiplaas picnic spot and the S142 a try but as already the whole day also these loops were deserted whereas we loved the views into the riverbed and moreover simply had to absorb everything as this would be our last afternoon drive for a very long time.

As still a bit time was left we also paid Shipandani hide a final visit and as already during the previous days the hippos and crocodiles were around and gladly also the water dikkops posed nicely

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and we also spotted this bird out of which we are not sure what it actually was - my guess would be juvenile Kittlitz's plover and if I am correct that would mean that we during this holiday could capture by photograph 10 never seen birds.

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I will also post these pictures under the relevant thread here on the forum for verification.

Needless to say that we could have sat there endlessly but the clock was ticking and it was for us time to return back to camp but sure it was time for a very last sunset in the park.

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For our very last evening in the park we decided to pay the restaurant a visit and we definitely were not disappointed as food and service were brilliant and then it was already time for the bed as we still had a long drive ahead of us.

Sunday, 26. February 2012 - Mopani - Punda Maria Gate

How I hate it to wake up at these last days and I already wished by myself why could it not be the very first day. As we wanted to leave the park via Punda Maria gate we had no time for experiences today as we also still had to calculate the number of kilometers which we had to drive outside the park in order to reach our bed and breakfast accommodation not too late so in the beginning we only carried on the main tar road leading to Shingwedzi but for sure we still had not to hurry as we wanted to enjoy everything which came across extensively.

Shortly before the turnoff to Olifantsbad we saw already a movement on the road and whilst we approached slowly we noticed a large hyaena clan with lots of different sized youngsters between them and only two or three parents or babysitters.

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One of the smaller ones was still gnawing on a small piece of bone and consequently same was much sought-after by all the other ones.

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It was also time to cuddle the babysitter or mom or auntie!

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Suddenly most of the adult ones got up and after an extensive stretching

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and after the other got out of sight whereas we got still admire the smaller ones which simply posed to cute.

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But that posing of the smaller ones was simply a diversionary tactic

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as suddenly our car started to shake strangely and we knew that there was something going on in the background. Timon immediately started the engine again and accelerate and gladly that worked as all hyaenas which were busy in nibbling at our car gladly let same loose.

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The larger hyaenas walked typically in hyaena style away on the road in search for the next victim,

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some of the smaller ones stayed with us, whereas some disappeared somewhere in the high grass and even one of them laid side by side to our car

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and played choirboy and needless to say that the two of us still paid extreme attention that this was not only another gamesmanship

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to be continued with an awesome tusker sighting.......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
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but gladly not further attacks of the hyaenas took place and so we calmed down again and simply enjoyed the cuteness of the gorgeous fellow close to us.

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We always do have different cameras with different lenses on in use whilst travelling through the park so that always one of us could easily grab one when something is coming across so that we at least got one picture but on sightings like this we even could experience a bit

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which we for sure did extensively - Sorry about the number of hyaena picture but once more it was too hard for me to choose a favourite

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and I also wanted to show that these animals are definitely not ugly and even come close to my favourite animal, the cheetah, at least for me.

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Although we could have stayed with our baby hyaena the whole day we had to carry on as there was still a long drive ahead of us.

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So with heavy hearts we said good bye and headed forward. Due to the dense vegetation the rest of the drive was quiet but gladly the Shingwedzi river or at least its river bed came into sight and on the many loops we enjoyed the view into some remaining puddles.

On one tree whilst we parked in one of these loops we saw a movement and a lovely squirrel was in the mood to pose for us.

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Normally these animals are far too fast for a picture but this little chap was in no hurry.

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A stop on the high water bridge is always a must and after we checked whether with our car everything was okay - besides a cut in one of the back tires and the missing cover of the trailer coupling which is now to be found in the stomach of one naughty hyaena we could not discover anything else and so we started to absorb everything and whilst looking around I realized in the distance in the river bed a huge elephant with long tusks and same was moving into the direction of the road and so we decided to hurry on as maybe from one of the many view points on the tar road leading to Shingewdzi camp we might have the possibility in seeing him a bit closer but gladly it came even better as first his askari popped out of the bushes and crossed the road in front of us

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and after quite a while with some pictures with only a bush in front of his head he followed his friend with a large amount of remaining breakfast in his mouth

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and demonstrating who the boss is!

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Not only that he was wearing a nice pair of tusks he is also one of the larger ones and quite an impressive appearance

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but was not in all interested in any way in us - He simply wanted to follow his friend.

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On the other side of the road both walked still parallel to us and from time to time between one of the many bushes we got nice views onto him again and due to the remarkable V-shape in his left ear I could recognize him as Mavatsani - a known tusker!

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The two of them removed more and more deeper into the bush and with this very last picture to also demonstrate the largeness of Mavatsani's tusks compared to his friend

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we carried on and before finally stretching a bit our legs in camp lot of marabus in some dead trees appeared again plentiful.

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Whilst strolling around camp we spontaneously decided that after only one stay in Shingwedzi up to now that it is about time to give this camp another try next year and after the obligatory ice cream we left via the back entrance only to stop a bit longer on one of our favourite spots - the low water bridge - close to camp and there we instantly were greeted by an emerging crocodile.

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Whenever in that area the S56 - The Mphongolo loop - is a must because of its beauty with the huge shady riverine trees, the views into the riverbed and the amount of different feathered friends we could be found there.

Right at the beginning lots of colourful Carmine bee eaters could be discovered

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and also two dagga boys day dreaming together in a remaining puddle.

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Pity was that the Wahlberg which we saw stayed the whole time too hidden in a trees but this naughty grey go away bird allowed some shots

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which was busy in cleaning its plumage. After a short detour to Boyela which was unfortunately deserted we were held up a bit by this large elephant bull

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who after scratching one of his legs came alarmingly and

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even filling the camera completely close but once more he was one of the friendlier guys.

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to be continued with the very last installment....


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:26 pm 
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Location: The planning is on again.....
Back on the Mphongolo loop Timon discovered in one of those beautiful trees a little gorgeous fluff ball which was indeed to cute for words.

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Its watchful parents were not far away

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and eyed the LO suspiciously.

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A grey hornbill was busy in feeding in a fig tree

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and also this little chap had to be captured.

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We allowed us a nice break at Babalala picnic spot under the huge tree there and carried on slowly as we now knew that our final hours in the park had just begun.

A couple of little bee eaters joined us but never allowed decent shots as always when Timon had the camera ready they flew away. On the Dzundzwini loop in a large tree we spotted another ground hornbill family

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and there Timon could at least snap away for his feathered friends. This family consisted of a large number of individuals but most of them stayed too very well hidden so that only two of them could be captured.

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Due to the heat they obviously decided to spent the hot afternoon on a nice lookout with some wind around

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and even due to the heat the rest of the drive was quiet besides a couple of zebras in the distance. Although we were already late we decided that we could not leave the park without driving the Mahonie loop which is still one of our favourite drives and right at the beginning a large group of impalas was resting under shady trees.

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The ever present oxpeckers were also around and whilst sitting there in our car we already started to miss them already desperately.

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A lone buffalo was taking a mud respectively sunbath

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and a majestic kudu bull popped out of the dense bushes

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and satisfied once again our souls due to his presence.

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We stopped for a final break and filled up with petrol in Punda Maria camp but could somehow not drag ourselves away but as it meanwhile was late afternoon we still had no alternative to finally say good bye for a far too long time.

Two dagga boys in a puddle joined by zebras and in the distance by impalas as well was our final sighting

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and after some excessive shots from all directions of the buffaloes

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we finally left the gate and over was another overwhelming holiday with so many uncountable memories which will hopefully kept in our minds forever.

The End - Finally!


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